So here’s something new for the Thursday mailbag. We actually have a mailbag! I’m so excited that I’m going to get straight into it!
Mark Jasper, USA : “Names would be better than numbers for individual stats”
Yes, they would be, I agree. But it’s more difficult than you’d think to get the names out of the system. I haven’t figured out yet how to make the computer do the individual stats automatically (it does most of the team stuff by itself now, which is an improvement). Not to mention that players still change numbers with alarming regularity. This is something that should be solved next year, when we switch to a far superior stats machine.
Frederik George, Ostend : “On Passer Rating, % Completion, Yards/Attempt and Yards/Completion, you mention (10 attempts). Only 5 players have more than 10 attempts, so the others shouldn’t be in the list, right?”
You know, I had actually planned to say something about this today anyway, but you beat me to it! You’re right, the number in brackets is the minimum number of attempts required to be considered as a league leader at the end of the season. This is again something that I can’t get the computer to do by itself, but I’ll come up with some sort of a solution, hopefully by next week.
Stijn De Backer, Brussels : “I like your reporting. I have a question following this report. Which team at the moment seems to you the most balanced and would be able to handle the absence of some key players? Especially given your comment about the absence of some skill players with the Diamonds this past Sunday.”
This is a brilliant question. I would say that the team who has the best spread of talent would be the Bulls. As much as I don’t like a two (or three) quarterback system, the fact that they can pull it off means that the differences in their quarterbacks isn’t large. They’ve got multiple options at receiver, and quite a few of them are lightning fast. And not forgetting that so far this season, last year’s Offensive MVP, RB Acheson has been fairly well held by his opponents. The Bulls haven’t exactly set the world on fire as far as actually making yards goes, but I think that they’re in the best position to continue to play quality football if they would have a couple of injuries.
Brussels Bulls (2-0) vs Izegem Tribes (0-1)
Last 5 years : Tribes 7, Bulls 1
Last match : March 25, 2012 in Ostend : Bulls 14, Tribes 7
This looks like being a rather difficult task for the Tribes. The Bulls defense has given up nothing this season, and it’ll be hard for the boys from Izegem to change that, given their inexperience. Their offensive line, featuring T Vanhauwere, can gain some yards on the ground, but will they be able to get enough to make first downs? Having impressive seasons for the Bulls are DE De Nolf and S Van De Wiele, but their strength lies in the fact that most tackles they make are with three or four people.
On the other side of the ball, the Bulls have lightning fast receivers in WR Leroy and Roudebush, although the Tribes can match speed for speed in this area with CB’s Humphrey and Pype. It’ll be up to the interior defense of the Tribes to make plays against the Bulls’ running game – they can’t afford missed tackles like they had against the Lions two weeks ago.
Prediction : There’s no way I can pick against the Bulls in this one, I think they might be a bit too physical up front, although they would help themselves out if they weren’t so undisciplined (they average 110 penalty yards per game, almost 50 more than any other team). Bulls 27 – Tribes 6
Gent Gators (0-1) vs Leuven Lions (2-1)
Last 5 years : Gators 4, Lions 1, Tied 2
Last match : April 15, 2012 in Gent : Gators 8, Lions 7
Gent have had a couple of weeks off to reflect on their loss to the Black Angels and to find out where it went wrong, so I expect to see a team with renewed fire. They travel cross-country to Leuven, where they’ll face a Lions team looking for their third win of the season.
Conditions could play a part in this one, as both teams like to air it out. But with snow and rain around, the field is bound to be heavy, so the ball will be too, and that makes passing tough. Another thing that is tough in sloppy conditions is kicking the ball, believe me, I know – a wet football is as heavy as a brick and as slippery as a bar of soap. But if one punter can figure out the conditions and the other can’t, it’ll provide a huge advantage in field position.
So I’m expecting to see a lot of rushing in this one, which should give the advantage to Leuven and their misdirection offense. If they’re able to get Gent taking half a step the wrong way, by the time they’ve recovered it could be too late. That’s where you need experience, and the Gators have it up the middle with LB’s Castrillo and Schuermans to try and keep RB’s Delmeiren and Van Vlasselaer under control.
On the other side of the ball, Gent must do a better job rushing the ball than they did against Brussels, and find a way to get a hat on LB Caelenberghe at the second level.
Prediction : I don’t think this is going to be a pretty game. If I could give some advice to the players, it would be “Wear long stops in your shoes”. Either that, or “Keep your jerseys clean enough so I can still see the numbers”. Thankyou. Lions 12 – Gators 6
FFL Fantasy Football Challenge
Well, we’ve changed things up a little in the Challenge. It’s going to be a draft (previously we just kind of said who we wanted, luckily we hadn’t chosen the same players). So this week, after the team of the player, you’ll see a number, which is the position they were drafted in. Klaas had the number one pick this week, and used it wisely.
QB – Bart Killens (GNT – 5)
RB – Seppe Delmeiren (LEU – 1)
WR – Michael Roudebush (BB – 7)
DEF – Kris Humprhey (IZE – 3)
QB – Wout Huysman (IZE – 8)
RB – Kim Jolie (GNT – 2)
WR – Jonathan Leroy (BB – 4)
DEF – Jan Caelenberghe (LEU – 6)
The All-FFL Team
Well I’ve been studying a lot of game tape, trying to prepare myself for the hardest thing I have to do each year, which is to choose the All-FFL team. As far as I can figure out, there are 9 players still in the league who will be looking for their third straight selection (and only 3 of those were selected as starters both previous years).
This year’s team will be selected in much the same way that last year’s was. That is, 11 starters on offense, 11 on defense (playing a 3-4), a punter, a kicker, a long snapper and a returner, plus 16 backups for a total of 42.
It’s good that the games that were cancelled have been rescheduled. But it has thrown up a problem. The Angels vs Titans game is now on at the same time as two games in Izegem. Obviously, I won’t be going to Brussels to see that one game when there are two games on my doorstep, so I’ll be looking for people who are interested in taking the stats for that game. Don’t be intimidated though, plenty of people helped out last year and did a good job. Until next time